Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as needed to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a vacation only to discover substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.